I've gone through the usual steps of cleaning the tracks and spiral
springs, then lubricating them with a silicone spray, paying particular
attention to the springs. Still too hard to raise from the fully closed
position. Fairly easy to raise once the sash is open about three inches.
The sash maintains its position when I take my hands off it, implying
that the springs are under proper tension.
I removed the lower sash. Tilting the sash inward to remove it causes
the shoes at the bottom ends of the springs to expand and wedge into the
sides of the track, so the shoes don't snap upwards. This is explained
at time 1:46 here:
I then used a screwdriver to twist the center of the shoe 90 degrees,
which releases it and retracts the spring. If I now use the screwdriver
to force the shoe all the way down, it remains in the down position even
when I remove the screwdriver, instead of snapping upward. Once I move
the shoe about three inches above the fully down position, it snaps
upward as it should.
I can't understand why the shoes (both sides) are so tight when fully
down. I used plenty of lubricant on all three sides of each shoe. Any ideas?
Thanks for your insights and suggestions.
How old are the windows? Is the house settling? The back of my house is
settling so the windows on the side of the house are becoming harder to
operate because the frames are no longer perfectly rectangular. The back
and front windows are fine because the settling doesn't affecting their
Scrupulous cleaning and lubrication help somewhat but if the settling
continues, the options get ugly. Probably the only way to fix it is to pop
all the trim and insulation and to reshim the window back to being perfectly
Building is probably 50 years old. Next time I'll take a square with me
and check it. But that really doesn't explain how or why the shoe binds
at the bottom inch or two of the track, even with the lower sash removed.
There's a window company near my home. I'll visit the installer tomorrow
and pick his brain.
First, that's an interesting overall video about double hung vinyl windows.
I saved it for future use since I participate in a couple of real estate
investor association online discussion groups and people often post
questions about fixing window problems.
I don't know the answer to your question, but it does seem like the pivot
shoes are getting stuck in the track in just one area. Since it is on both
sides, it makes me wonder if it is somehow supposed to be that way, or if
there is a common problem on both sides that is compressing the track near
the bottom of the window -- like a window sill pressing on and compressing
the track on both sides(?).
I happen to live near a window and door parts place called Swisco in Camden,
NJ, so when I get stuck I sometimes just go there in person and ask them.
They also have a good website where people can diagnose problems, ask
questions, find parts to order online, and watch instructional videos.
I don't know if any of this will help, but here are some of their website
links to their home page, a video about the pivot shoe, and a list of their
videos, and a link to their discussion group where people post questions:
Good luck. If you figure out what the problem is, let us know.
Thanks for the great links. The jamb spreaders are what I need if there
are no cutouts to allow removing the shoes, but they are $149 a pair.
(At that price, it's cheaper to call a pro who already has them.) With
the shoes in my hand, I can sand them a bit to increase the clearance. I
don't know if they are too wide vs too thick for the track, but next
time I'm in the apartment, I'll simply wiggle the lower sash (when it's
just a 1/2 inch from the closed position to allow finger clearance) in
and out to see if the clearance is too small. Side-to-side wiggling
might not tell much, because there can be clearance between the sash and
the shoes, yet the shoes may be still too thick for their tracks.
Anyway, thanks again for providing new insights. I won't be in the
apartment for a few days, but I will report back.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.